Fitz and the Tantrums really started a revival of sorts. They created a wormhole back to the 1960’s and 1970’s and made soul a viable genre again. So some more artists started crawling into the light and the result has been extraordinary. Take Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers for instance, who would have thought that a band from the UK would have more soul than many American bands have in the past 30 years? Hannah’s debut album A Hill of Feathers is a cross between ‘70’s Blaxploitation funk and ‘60’s soul.
The album is sophisticated, funky and sexy. What it lacks in lyrical content it more than makes up for in soulful musical quality and Williams’ sassy, Janis Joplinesque vocals. The sounds are reminiscent of Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield. There’s a difference between this and an Adele another deeply soulful artist from Britain. The cacophony of horns in the background make this far more of a funk record than merely soul and truth be told, this is not the kind of album that would appeal to everyone.
There’s a sultriness in Hannah Williams voice that exudes sexuality. The raspy voice screaming the vocals with such passion that you can’t help but get a little excited. There’s also a bit of British ska in the trumpets that blends nicely into the genre bending tunes. Williams and her cohorts have crafted a masterful debut album and if this is any indication of what’s to come then Mrs. Williams will be making brilliant records for years to come.
Best Song: Work it Out – Sounds like a lost Janis Joplin track. Just amazing.
Hannah Williams is currently on tour throughout the UK.
A Hill of Feathers is out October 15 on Record Kicks.